Creating Beauty, Revealing Truth

20130327-094848.jpgAs I’ve struggled to regain a sense of self in the aftermath of rape and sexual assault, my view of the world has changed, perhaps permanently. I no longer believe that people are inherently good, doing the best they can. I believe people are inherently selfish and scared. Most don’t care if their actions hurt others, or if they do, it’s a distant second to what feels good to them.

They’ll have that affair and betray their wives/husbands/partners/children/families, as long as they can get off. Have an orgasm. Penetrate or be penetrated for a few minutes.

How horrific, petty, and disgusting. Not sexual desire, although that, too, no longer holds much interest for me, but the fact that sexual desire is placed above so many other things in life.

I say most people, and I suppose that’s an overstatement. It’s been my experience with most people I’ve encountered. After all, 80% of married couples are unfaithful at one point or another. So very few people have the courage to be genuine or the integrity to be honest, even of it isn’t sexual deviancy and deception at the core.

I’ve written several short stories over the past few years, and a few novels, too. All of them, I find, have a similar theme, and it wasn’t intentional. It’s what comes through my subconscious in the writing. One of my rape counselors, the only one of three, I’m proud to say, that I’m still seeing, read a short story I wrote two years ago, shortly after the first sexual assault by a supposed friend and collegue. That was the assault that opened the door for the next two. For as I’ve learned through extensive research into rape, Rape Trauma Syndrome, and rape recovery by reading countless articles about and accounts of rape over the past year, that once a person is victimized through sexualized aggression and/or sexual violence, the chance of being victimized again doubles, then triples. Part of the reason for this is the mind/body’s confusion of what happened, especially (as is the case 85% of the time) if it’s perpetrated by someone the victim knows and trusts. It’s the cognitive dissonance between friend and rapist, lover and rapist. Our mind tries to disprove that was what happened. Our trust is skewed. Our view of love and affection has been altered. Our boundaries, shattered, making it that much easier for the next predator to worm his way in.

Regardless, I digress. Imagine that.

So, my rape therapist read “The Final Word” after it was published by The Rusty Nail, and he saw something in that story that I didn’t consciously put in there, but it’s been a running theme in my life since that first assault through the other two: ignoring one’s own warning signs/red flags, dismissing them as one’s own emotional “issues” and “overreaction,” often supported by societal beliefs and manipulation by one’s abuser/perpetrator (gaslighting), only to painfully (or fatally) discover there was a very valid reason to be frightened and self-protective.

After the struggle to regain who I am outside of the trauma experienced, as well as the struggle to maintain my career and writing output during a time I was barely functional, I’ve come out on the other side feeling isolated and alone, largely because I isolate myself for safety. My trust in people is completely gone, and whenever I have tried to dip that proverbial toe back into the water of society, I’m quickly reminded of why I isolate myself. I trust again, and I’m betrayed again. At least I’m noticing the pattern sooner rather than later.

Another running theme in much of my work is the ultimate relief that only death can bring as well as the cowardice and treachery of humankind, especially men, since that has been the bulk of my personal experience (not to say I haven’t felt betrayed by women. I have, incredibly so, mostly in the aftermath of the rapes last year. Those who spoke out publicly against me the loudest were women). Since the beginning of 2013, I’ve been relatively quiet on this blog. Much of my focus was still on rape recovery and rape in the news, and I was quite fatigued talking about it, but not quite able to talk about much else. To focus on other “happy” or “positive” things felt like a lie, felt deceptive, so I just didn’t write much on here at all.

Instead, I wrote a novel and three short stories.

Some days, the harshest realization is that I very likely still have about 45 years in this life, and I feel as if my life has lost all meaning and purpose. I have endless hours to fill in isolation from everyone except my amazing husband, my dog, and my cat. The only other human being I talk to face-to-face is my therapist, who is also awesome and supportive, kind and compassionate.

I’ve been culling connections on social networks, cutting anyone who even breathes in a misogynistic and/or victim-blaming way. Anyone who is insensitive or lewd. My self protection level is at an all-time high.

A few weekends ago, I ventured out once to meet an online friend for coffee, dipping that toe in the water of socialization, not even a date, just a friendly meeting with another human being. Baby steps and all. This person turned out to be a registered sex offender and a rapist by his own admission of actions. He told me that although he wasn’t picturing having sex with me yet, he probably would be in the near future. Later that week, another man, who found my escape-artist dog, turned my gratitude for a good deed into sexualized debt, propositioning me to show my thanks. The very same day, I heard from three people in Austin**: the first, a member of the dance & poly community that embraced my rapist and shunned me; the second, a man I briefly dated after the rapes (who threw me over because I was “too insecure” even though I was “nonjudgmental” about his “taboo kinks” like fucking animals and relatives — remember what I said about fucked up boundaries after sexualized violence? Prime example), thankfully, we were never sexually intimate; and a third, who I didn’t remember nor did he remember me after we supposedly met on OKCupid last year, contacted me to see if I wanted to get together again (just in case).

So, yes, back into isolation.

My career has suffered during this time of assault and recovery. The world and publishing and Steampunk has all continued on without me while I dealt with and healed from these violations. The Steampunk community, too, embraces the one who violated me, as he was able to continue with his career, not being traumatized…

Again, I digress.

My point is…what’s the point? I’m here for another 45 years, give or take, unless I’m really lucky, so what am I to do with all that time? I don’t have kids. I don’t trust people. I’m afraid of everyone because of what was done to me. I see the inherent problems in the legal and law enforcement around rape and sexualized aggression, how 97% of rapists walk free and everyone from community to friends to family to the law blames the victim.

I don’t know how not to be victimized again–how to trust again–other than staying away from everyone, so that’s what I’ll do for now.

Although I love to hear when people respond to my articles or stories, and I cherish every one of those comments,  it’s become clear how few supporters I really have after years of writing and eight books, so I write because it’s cathartic. I write and paint and crochet because when I create beauty in any form, it passes the endless hours of every day until I can be unconscious again for another eight to ten hours…only to start all over again. I play with my dog. I listen to Beethoven Radio on Pandora and drink a frothy mocha alone. I run alone. I’m learning about gardening so I can create more beauty in my safe haven in the mountains of Northern California. I write and share articles about rape and consent and rape culture. I talk to those who want to talk to me, ones who can be respectful and supportive and genuine. I help others feel less alone, and then I feel less alone, too.

In the evenings, I get to cuddle up with my husband, my dog, and my cat and watch Monk or some other show until we all fall asleep.

Safety.

I’m so tired of talking about rape and rape culture, but I’ll keep talking about it and other important issues as it moves me. If you’re ready to hear it, you’ll listen and join in the conversation. If you’re not, you won’t. Hopefully you’ll never know what it’s like to be compelled to talk and read and examine rape and rape culture just to cope and understand why someone you loved raped you, why your community and friends turned from you and embraced him.

I truly hope you’ll never know what it’s like to be so traumatically betrayed by your lover and your community. I truly, truly hope…

I’ll keep writing, and I hope you’ll keep reading and commenting, for I do love your feedback, but I’ll write regardless of whether it’s published or not. Whether people read it or not. Whether readers comment or not. I’ll write and create to pass the hours, as it proves temporary relief from the human condition until I’m finally graced with the ultimate relief in another 45 years, give or take.

My life has no purpose but the one I create, and I choose to spend the time I have in this life creating beauty and revealing truth to those ready to hear it.

May you find peace.

-_Q

**To the Austin Poly, Burner, and ecstatic Dance Communities: FUCK OFF.
Seriously. I don’t want to know any of you unless you were one of my FEW supporters either privately or publicly. They know who they are. The rest of you, unless you begin your correspondence with an acknowledgment and a profuse apology for the additional trauma you caused me by embracing my rapist, making excuses for him, allowing him in your community/home/parties/office, or just not saying anything at all, fuck off. Just block me. Leave me alone. I don’t want to know you. I mean it. FUCK OFF.
Yes, I’m angry and hurt which is alienating people from those Austin communities. It’s alienating misogynists and rape apologists. It’s alienating people who think they’re good, kind, compassionate people who are really misogynists, predators, and/or rape apologists.
That’s the fucking point.

~ by omgrey on March 28, 2013.

11 Responses to “Creating Beauty, Revealing Truth”

  1. Thank you for writing this. The last line especially.

    • I’m so pleased this post helped in some way. It was a difficult one to write and post. I almost left it “private,” but I’m glad I published it if it helped even one other person.

      May you find peace.

  2. […] talk more about creating beauty, revealing truth, and protecting oneself in sacred spaces. I look forward to sharing the sacred space I created with […]

  3. I dont want to appear nosy, but wonder how you were able to meet your hsband, get married, and stay feeling comfortable with him, given the way you see things. And i see things the same way you do — and of course the misogynists and their apologists alienate themselves from me as well — and that is most people. We live in a misogynist world, no question, and the women who turn on us think they know what side their bread is buttered on –they “remember” the witch-burnings, they know what happens to women who misbehave, and they dont want to get caught misbehaving. They just want to survive, by going along with the patriarchy, and i understand that — but i cant understand finally saying ‘enough,” and realizing we’d better start defending our own gender by whatever means necessary, or we all just live lives waiting to die. I’m impressed that you create beauty — that is not something i have felt safe to do. I envy the solace of your pets, your cuddle partner, and your mountain retreat, and I am so glad that one of us has that, even though i know it doesnt make the pain go away. And i agree, most people have forgotten what it means to be kind, to do the right thing, when it costs them something — like popularity, or the approval of others. At least you write. I dont know what i do — sulk? There are maybe 5 mins in a month where i feel some relief, or some joy. While the therapists can call me “depressed” or having “low self esteem” (though i dont let them get away with the latter, anymore) i know it’s just being in reality — as you said, anything else would just feel deceptive. So i rarely socialize, and when i do, it’s not so fun — the other shoe keeps dropping.

    And that sexual thing that men focus on? You know, i’m sure, it’s not just about getting their orgasm, it’s about power — because i’ve offered men orgasms, but while i lie there like a zombie and tell them how stupid i think they are, they get up and leave. They are very sensitive, you see — to their own feelings.

    If youre interested, read a book by Andrea Dworkin , “Right Wing Women.” She was a reporter, writer, lecturer, and almost got killed by a gp of women that saw her as a threat.

    Also, you got even closer to my heart than you already were — i rented all 8 seasons of monk, and spend 8 hrs on sundays and 2 hrs on fridays watching that show on tv, as long as it stays on. I think it goes without saying why we like it so much.

    I wish there were REAL support gps, or social gps., for those who understand reality the way we do. I’ve tried, but most of them are run by therapists who wind up saying we have to “work on ourselves ,” as if the the whole fucking society isnt the problem. So when the British complained of taxation w/o representation, or the Jew complained of anti-semitism, were they told to work on themselves, or did they start a fucking war? (Or fight back against a war — with whatever it took.) Those people that say that shit are afraid of what we would do if we did stop “working on ourselves” and instead put the blame where it really lies.

    I admire you, and although we may not agree on everything, i hope we are sisters. I know people have said they admire me when i speak out in public and protest the misogyny — and i dont want to be admired, i just want to live my life, to save myself. It just cant be done without speaking out, because it’s got to be all for one and one for all, for women as an oppressed gp. And i guess we have to learn from history: the feminists who started radical feminst gps were thrown out of their own gps. …

    So now i sit here and count the 11 hours til Monk comes on.

    • I met my husband swing dancing in 1999.🙂 I didn’t feel this way then. I was 29, and although many of the men I’d been with before we’re misogynistic assholes, I didn’t realize that yet. We’ve been able to build our unshakable foundation through courage, honesty, integrity, mutual respect, consideration for the other, and a lot of hours talking and becoming closer, establishing true intimacy. Sex has never been a huge part of our relationship, thankfully. Sex is about power for most people. Far too much importance is placed on sex. It is important, but is a tiny fraction of a complete relationship. Too many people equate intimacy with sex, and they don’t necessarily go together. A couple can have deep infancy without sex, and they can have a lot of sex with no intimacy.

      Society is the problem, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to work on ourselves. We do. All of us. To become ever more self aware. That’s how we change society because we are society. We make up society. It’s reaching one person at a time while finding a way to stay sane and find peace. Or not reaching them…protecting ourselves with isolation after a serious trauma. You are reaching them through your talks, and I am through my blog.

      Reality is this: society is fucked up. About 85% of men are misogynistic assholes and/or abusers. They’re infantile and selfish and dangerous. I’d even say about 85% of all people on our culture are. It’s not a pretty place. People lie, virtually everyone. They hurt each other. They don’t care about you. They don’t care about me. The world is full of weeds with very few flowers and fruits and vegetables and herbs. Mostly weeds.

      Perhaps you’ve been seeing crap therapists. Search out a somatic therapist, one that specialized in PTSD and trauma recovery. I know I’ve seen crap therapists who did more damage, creating a secondary trauma.

      My current therapist is brilliant. Last week, he found a beautiful metaphor in my garden. The first thing is to clear everything out. Everyone. Just you and a sacred space devoid of weeds or any other type of person, except those whom you trust completely. Next, is to prepare the ground for things to grow. In our life, it’s about setting boundaries and knowing ourselves enough to know what we can give and what we need. Then start planting. A little at a time. As weeds pop up, and they will, rip them out and get them out of your space, without mercy. Nurture the relationships you do have, if they’re not working, dig them up and replace them with one that will.

      Get a journal. When you wake up, write for 30 min. Don’t let the own leave the page. Write in a stream of consciousness. Doesn’t matter what. You will be surprised at how much this mental evacuation helps. Then rip out those pages, tear them up, and burn them or put them in the recycling. It’s cathartic.

      If that’s the sex you’re having, calling men stupid at the end and offering yourself as an ejaculatory tool, please PLEASE don’t have sex! That is so damaging to you! It’s not hurting the men aside from a fleeting ego blow that they’ll easily dismiss. It’s hurting you. You’re taking someone you utterly despise and resent INTO YOUR BODY. Don’t do that! It’s soul destroying.

      Vow not to have sex again until it’s nothing else but an expression of love. It’s not worth the damage it’s perpetuating in you.

      Glad you’re enjoying Monk! Just like you chose to go out & rent those videos, you can choose to create beauty. Create it for yourself, not anyone else. Creating beauty can be as simple as cleaning the house and making sure everything is straight, a la Monk.🙂

      Surround yourself with beauty for you.

      • T hanks very much for your compassionate response. I didnt realize that when i read what’s contained in the email to me, it’s not the entirety of the response, so i just now read it in its entirety.

        (To clarify: I totally understand what you were saying, but i have not had sex with men in the manner i described. I “offer” it to them, technically, in a confrontational situation to shut them up and prove to them that they cant do it under those circumstances — and they never can – -they walk, or run away in embarrassment — and i hope it they learned something and walk away with a bad memory of what happens when they try to use their manipulative skills and how inane the results, are. It’s never, in this manner happened where we had actual sex. It’s a strategy.)

        I’m going to continue to read and absorb the other things you wrote.

        I’m not sure what a somatic therapist is, but 1: i dont have insurance and it’s been impossible to find someone who charges on an affordable sliding scale, and 2:, i dont know what ptsd therapists would do, since i agree with you, that at least 85% of people are assholes, misogynistic or otherwise (and there is no one i trust completely as far as friends), and i hav e gotten the distinct feeling that ptsd therapists think that the trauma is in the past, as opposed to the misogyny and bullying behavior i deal with on a regular basis in life, not just the past incidences of abuse.

      • I often edit responses to add more as I think of it, so that’s why you didn’t see all of the response in your email notification.

        Understood about insurance. I don’t have it either. I found one who does a great sliding scale. Somatic therapy (I’ll have a blog post up about it next week) is tapping into body memories. A PTSD therapist would, first, understand what’s going on with you and not try to put some other unhelpful label on you, and, second, give you tools with which to work through the complex trauma. Agreed. I don’t trust anyone completely either, and you’d start with a new therapist telling them just that. Your trust has been understandably shaken. They will either prove they’re trustworthy or you find another therapist. There’s a great PTSD therapist in the Austin area who does a sliding scale. I was very sad to leave her so soon after I found her when I moved. It took me two months to find one here in CA, and I did so through her recommendation to focus on somatic therapists.

        It’s worth a shot.

        PTSD therapists know that much of the trauma is in the past, but that former trauma and the way the body/nervous system has been forced to cope with such trauma, has made you susceptible to multiple traumas and abuses throughout life, compounding the PTSD and creating complex PTSD. They can help you deal with life, bullies, and misogynists by validating your experiences and giving you tools to build and maintain boundaries.

        May you find peace.

      • Thank you. If you have a suggestion on finding a somatic therapist, and esp one who charges on a sliding scale, please let me know.

      • http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/practitioner-directory.html

        Start there.

  4. […] This secondary trauma set me back months in healing. The tertiary trauma would come when the entire poly community embraced The Rapist and called me a liar. Fuck Austin, as I’ve said before. […]

  5. […] write because it fills the hours, because I’m improving my craft for me, because I’m creating beauty and revealing truth. I don’t write to get published. Although it’s way cool when I get that validation and […]

Please Share Your Thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: